South of Johnston
I was having dinner with Lachy (the man who cultivated my love for brunching) and he once again sprung a café name that I’d never heard of.
“South of Johnston… Go there.”
I went the next day.
The café has a deceptively small-looking frontage, but inside, it was really spacious and wonderfully fitted out. Gone are the days of industrial chic Melbourne cafés (like Seven Seeds and Hobba), now it’s all about clean modernity and gallery-like ergonomics.
Location-wise, it’s on one of the quieter streets of Collingwood, but near enough to where the buzz is. Its name comes from Melbourne’s adaption of New York’s SOHO (South of Houston) district. Here, Collingwood has been called SOJO (South of Johnston St).
Latte (by Coffee Supreme) 3.5 | Hot Chocolate 4.5
We arrived as a rather a big group of six because Fakegf brought along visiting relatives – a family of four. And no, I won’t called them fake-relatives. Hah!
‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ both had lattes, while the kids went with hot chocolate.
CHAI – our own brew by rainbow chai with soy milk & honey 4.5
Fakegf and I both decided to chai it, and we were bowled over by how big the cups were. But I suppose that’s probably the same volume as what a pot of chai would’ve been. That’s my hand in the photo to give a sense of proportion.
Our drinks were mild, with more of the spice action coming from the powder scatter on top. Good accompanying honey.
I’ll now cover what our visitors ordered, in quick succession, and document how they felt about the food.
PANCAKES served with grilled bacon and real maple syrup 15.9
FRENCH TOAST made with organic brioche and topped with grilled bacon and real maple syrup 15.9
‘Dad’ and ‘Daughter’ ordered variations of bacon and maple syrup on carbs. They were equivocal about it, with daughter saying her French toast was on the dry side. Dad shared similar sentiments with his pancake dish.
FRIED EGGS served with kaiserfleisch, roasted mushrooms, roast tomato
and rosemary on sourdough toast 16.9
OMELETTE with feta, mushrooms, bacon, tomato and spinach 16.9
‘Mum’ was more positive with her fried eggs dish. She thought the combination was great because there were vegetables and mushrooms to help counterpoint the thick slab of Kaiserfleisch. When I quizzed ‘Son’ about his omelette (which was the day’s special), he just said “not bad”.
MULTIGRAIN toasted lightly and piled with roasted field mushrooms, bulgarian sheep’s feta,
thyme and beetroot relish 9.9
Fakegf ate lightly with a small but well-balanced dish. I had a sample nibble and really liked it. The beetroot had a nice tang to it and Fakegf liked how they used meatier Swiss brown mushrooms instead of white mushrooms.
SCRAMBLED EGGS folded with goat’s cheese, drizzled with truffle oil and served with
sautéed spinach, mushrooms and multigrain toast 16.9
Thing about brunching is, you have to choose the correct dish to suit your mood. South of Johnston has a big menu and I was quite torn between a number of amazing choices such as chorizo eggs / seared sashimi grade tuna / poached chicken.
But I chose a winner. I normally prefer scrambled eggs plain but took a small leap with this one, and it turned out successful.
The creamy feta used was good and it did not overshadow the actual scramble, which came perfectly moist and fluffy. The hint of truffle oil in the eggs gave it a nice dimension. I asked for a swap from multigrain toast to sourdough because of texture preference. This dish was marvellous.
There’s Fakegf’s fork… nabbing another bite…
I really enjoyed the brunch fare here and I think Fakegf liked it too. The menu is quite large, but it’s well thought-out. I think there’s scope for more visits and food enjoyment here.